The NFL is a harsh business…which is to say it’s a business, as that is its nature. There aren’t as many players out there as you’d think you really have the attitude that they would ‘play for free’, as they sometimes say—and a lot of that just has to do with how much of a business the NFL really is, something the players know far better than, well, I do. But I try to listen to them when they say it.
The ugliest part of the business is, unfortunately, the fans, especially because they are also the most beautiful part. Fandom can be a wonderful thing, which our community here often shows, but there is always the dark side, which we’ve been seeing a lot lately. A college basketball player receiving death threats for not making a shot is not good for anybody, for example.
But we as fans like to think we know an awful lot, since we pay attention, we read, we listen, we watch the programs. We’re entuned to the media narratives. But what we don’t often get is the actual behind the scenes. Basically, we get the press clippings, the propaganda.
The media narrative out there is that wide receivers don’t want to come to Baltimore and play with Lamar Jackson, who passes the ball basically less than every other quarterback. They may love him as a person and even as a player, but every wide receiver wants to catch the ball, right?
This conversation was fueled by the recent report that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster turned down a one-year deal from the Ravens worth up to $13 million with incentives, instead accepting a one-year, $8 million contract to stay home.
This was cited as proof that it’s really true wide receivers don’t want to play with Jackson, because they’re not getting the ball. One former Ravens wide receiver—who even said that he doesn’t want to return to Baltimore—said that’s not the case.
“All of this Lamar hate is starting to get on my nerves”, longtime veteran NFL wide receiver Dez Bryant wrote yesterday on Twitter, who resurrected his career of sorts with Baltimore in 2020. “Just know I got to see first hand what he have to deal with.. him being able to play QB is far from the issue”.
All of this Lamar hate is starting to get on my nerves….just know I got to see first hand what he have to deal with.. him being able to play QB is far from the issue..
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) March 20, 2021
Jackson averaged 25.1 pass attempts per game last season, which ranked 42nd in the league. Given that there are 32 teams, that’s not great. By volume, he ranked 24th in pass attempts with 376, but only Cam Newton actually attempted fewer passes (just barely) under a similar amount of playing time.
But why don’t they pass more? Can he pass more? He only attempted 30 or more passes in a game twice last season, one in a commanding win and the other in a one-possession loss. Is this Greg Roman’s offense. Should we expect to see more passing going forward? It’s hard to see how they can evolve without it.